by Mark Stefik
MIT Fress, 1996, 412 pages.
Internet Dreams explores not only how "the Net" is being created, but also how our lives change as we become electronically interconnected. Stefik's thesis is simple and provocative: the way we think about the Internet-the mental models we use to represent its nature and purpose-will determine what the Internet will become. Stefik describes four metaphors for the I-way:
The Digital Library Metaphor (The I-way as publishing and community memory)
Electronic Mail Metaphor (The I-way as a communication medium)
Electronic Marketplace Metaphor (Selling goods and services on the I-way)
Digital Worlds Metaphor (The I-way as a gateway to experience)
Internet Dreams is organized around these four metaphors. Each section includes selected readings that have deep cultural and historical significance. Stefik introduces each piece and follows each chapter with his own reflections. For example, he covers some of the same ground as Hafner and Lyon, but uses original sources and goes deeper. He starts with an excerpt from Vannevar Bush's "As we may think" and follows with an excerpt from J.C.R. Licklider's "Libraries of the future."
In the electronic mail metaphor section he has excerpts from Lee Sproull and Samer Faraj's "Some consequences of electronic groups," and Joshua Lederberg's "Digital communication and the conduct of science: The new literacy. …